One of my authors wanted to go international after about six months of having her book published. That's when I started researching the details of doing such.
I found one company, Babelcube, who seemed to be the right fit for us at the time and I'm here to report back my findings.
In short, Babelcube is a company that connects authors and publishers with translators. You set your book up on their website and wait for a translator to ask to translate your book or your search and invite them to translate your book. The translators payment comes in the form of royalties, 30% after Babelcube takes their 20%. Because the translator doesn't know how much they will get for their time I suspected the translation would progress very slow. I projected it would take someone 6 months to translate a novel. I haven't been far off.
The service is built on gains from royalties and does everything free--connecting you to a translator and setting up your book in different platforms. You need to supply a translated book cover and new ISBN but otherwise Babelcube sets up the book in many platforms of the language in which its translated for. To me this is the best part of the service. I could not afford to hire a translator and once done--I didn't know how to market it in another language.
Now, here is what I have found. The shorter novellas were completed in short order, however--as I predicted--the novels might take up to 6 - 9 months. Set up is easy, getting the book covers was no problem and Babelcube set it all up and reported back to us what the links were for the different platforms they put them on.
However, it should be noted that you have to wait for a translator to come to you or search through the profiles and invite others to translate your book. Customer service is fairly responsive - somewhere between 24 - 48 hours.
In short this service has potential.
The main question I get is: How do you know the translation is correct?
You don't. Unless you have a friend that is bi-lingual in the translated version, you don't know. Sure, you can buy two or three translation editors but if you can do that, you might not need Babelcube. I discussed this with my author and the end result was, if it's not perfect translation we will accept that. This service was the only way we could go international. So basically it's a question of whether you want to do it or go without.
If you feel there is a market for your books but don't have the money to get it translated, then here is another question: How are you going to market it?
See this was a question I answered to my author: I couldn't. But dreams are big and Babelcube was the best solution. Just remember, you need to market your book in any language or country it's in. There are two sides to selling books. Production and marketing. Make the best book you can then market it.
ACTION ITEM: Before taking your book international--figure out how to market it. Just like writing, translation is the easy part.
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